The Prayer of St. Clement, Bishop of Rome,

From his late first century Epistle to the Corinthians.

 "We call upon You, O Master, to be our helper and defender! [Ps. cxix. 114.] Save such of us as are in affliction; have pity on the humble; raise up the fallen; show yourself to such as are in want; heal the sick; convert those of Your people that are in error; feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners; raise up the feeble; comfort the weak-hearted. Let all the Gentiles know that You are God alone [I. Kings viii. 60], and that Jesus Christ is Your Son, and that we are Your people and the sheep of Your pasture. [Ps. c. 3.] You did manifest the perpetual constitution of the universe by Your works therein. You, O Lord, did create the world! You are faithful throughout all generations; You are righteous in Your judgments; You are wonderful in Your strength and splendor; You are wise to create and [ingenious] to establish the things that are made; You are good in Your works which are seen, and faithful with such as put their confidence in You; You are merciful and full of compassion. [Please] forgive us our transgressions and our unrighteousness, our faults and our weaknesses! Impute not to Your servants... all their sin; but cleanse us thoroughly by Your truth, and direct our steps that we may walk in holiness and righteousness and simplicity of heart, and that we may do that which is good and well pleasing in the sight of You and of our rulers. [Ps. cxix. 133; Deut. xiii. 8.] [Please], Lord, cause Your face to shine upon us for blessing [Ps. Ixvi. 2], with peace, that we may be covered by Your mighty hand and be delivered from all sin by Your high arm. [Ex. vi.1.] Save us from them that hate us without a cause. Grant peace and concord to us and all that dwell upon the earth, as You gave it unto our fathers when they called upon You in faith and truth with holiness; that we may obey Your almighty and all-holy Name, and render submission to our rulers and governors upon the earth."


The author suggests that this is "no ordinary private prayer: it is the solemn and public service of the Catholic Church ... one of the Prefaces of the Mass such as were sung in the earliest days of Christianity, when the personal enthusiasm for Jesus was like a clear new flame in the hearts of His priests; when every meeting of Christians was one long dithyrambic* service, during which the evil world and the reign of the Antichrist** faded from this lower consciousness, to give place to the vision of a victorious and rewarding Christ, enthroned above the sun and the stars, and looking down with...tenderness on His disciples as they moved upward and onward beneath the whips and stings of life..." These phrases are a collection of Old Testament passages and texts and are perhaps "the oldest document of the holy Mass outside of the inspired writings. They are also like a flash-light picture of the daily life and temper of the Christians of Rome..."
Very Rev. Thomas J. Shahan, The Beginnings of Christianity. Benziger Brothers (1903) pp. 94-96. Imprimatur JNO. M. Farley, Archbishop of New York, July 9, 1903.

* dith-y-ramb (dēth2ē-r^m1, -r^mb1) n. 1. A frenzied, impassioned choric hymn and dance of ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus. 2. An irregular poetic expression suggestive of the ancient Greek dithyramb. 3. A wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing.
[ Latin dhthyrambus from Greek dithurambos] dith1y•ramb2ic adj. American Heritage Dictionary.
 
**the Antichrist here means the pagan Emperors of Rome that persecuted the Christian church. The New Testament does not speak of an antichrist appearing in our time, but does speak of those who oppose Christ in the New Testament period. 1John 4:2-3 " By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. " Note that the apostles says "already in the world" in the first century when this letter was written. 2 John 7: "Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! " NRSV.

This material is presented for non-commercial religious and educational purposes only. No other use is intended or permitted.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church and St. Yves Mission and the Packwood Catholic Community
Awaken to prayer: how to pray as a Catholic
Master Index of all Pages